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Meet Austin Manchester


Today we’d like to introduce you to Austin Manchester.

Hi Austin, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was born in 1969 in Philadelphia. My father, a High School language teacher, and my mother, an aspiring folk musician, were divorced when I was 2 1/2 and I hit the road with my mother traveling from coffee shop to coffee shop where she would perform. She settled down in Nova Scotia and my early years of childhood were spent going back and forth between my mother in Nova Scotia and my father in Philadelphia. At age 13 my mother, new stepfather, and sister moved to Kenya then later at 16 we moved to France. I ended up studying as an art major at UCSD then moved back to Europe to live with a small artist community in Cologne, Germany I met my wife in 1992 through an old high school friend. Three years later after a group show in New York, organized by a German curator, we moved to San Francisco where we lived until 2003 when our first son was born. Wanting to leave the city and be closer to our family in Europe we then moved back to France and settled near Montpellier. About a decade later, opportunities in the United States drew us back to the U.S. for extended stays. Even though I had family in the Beaufort area, I had never visited South Carolina until I was invited by an art collector friend who has a house in Charleston. Drawn to the beauty and culture of South Carolina with its rich history, my family settled outside of Charleston in Mount Pleasant.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the uncertainty?
In general painting in itself is very solitary work. One’s connections, however, whether it be collectors, curators, framers, pigment salesman, friends, and family are vital. Both in sharing in the successes and helping during the times of difficulty these relationships are key to my survival. Without their support, I would not be able to do what I love and need to do. For the vast majority of artists, there is overwhelming uncertainty and it is virtually impossible to support a family solely by selling paintings, books, music… During the difficult times I remind myself that everything is uncertain, try to focus on all the great around me, and keep the wheels spinning in the studio while exploring options and projects to carry me through. Artists usually have to be creative outside the studio as well in order to survive. Taking on jobs and projects that relate to the work such as organizing or hanging art shows can bring in a little extra money and also helps to build connections. Simplifying one’s life and needs is a key factor for the foundation as well.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Growing up in multicultural environments I was introduced to artists and many interesting creative individuals from as far back as I can remember. With both parents busy with work and no TVs in the home. I had ample time and used much of that time to draw and paint at a very early age. As a teenager we lived in an apartment above a small Museum in Alsace, France. There was an aquatint press and I would earn money printing aquatint prints for two illustrators. At this point, art was always natural to me and I enjoyed creating but I did not aspire to be an artist until I saw works of Marc Chagall several years later. The movement, color poetry, and most of all the impact of human spirit radiating from the depths of his paintings convinced me to dedicate my life to the art of painting.

I spend hours every day in my studio and after three decades of this, I am further integrated in my painting and the creative process. In this process, I try to step back from what I envision to allow the painting to evolve into something greater. I work on many paintings at a time. Often, I am working on over 10 paintings throughout the day. This allows me to always have something that is easy to enter as depending what is going on outside the studio it can at times be difficult to start working on certain paintings with a certain frame of mind. For example, it’s hard to work on final details of a painting if I’m feeling a lot of outside pressures so I will start with rough foundational work which usually transforms itself rather quickly into finer detailed and focused work. My day to day in the studio can be both highly rewarding and energizing and at times can be very challenging and exhausting. In general it’s the former as it is extremely rewarding to paint the inspirations and glory of life -paintings which radiate light/color and form poetry. The shadows can help the light to shine brighter as is often the case in life when we look back and see the hard trials that create platforms for individuals to shine.

What do you think about happiness?
A great source of happiness comes from the support of family and friends. Loving and being loved creates a joyful foundation. Knowing that life is so much bigger than myself is important, especially during these times where the social environment is extremely concerning and can place a heavyweight on our consciousness.

Pricing:

  • Watercolors $1000
  • Small oil paintings $2500-$5000
  • Medium oil paintings $5000-$10,000
  • Large oil paintings start at $10,000

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Oliver Steller

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